E-bikes for Seniors Buying Guide
One of the many benefits of electric bikes is that they make cycling more accessible than ever before. For older riders, the electric pedal assist provided by e-bikes can make cycling so much easier and provide a little bit of well-earned help.
Whether you're getting back on a bike after years away, are looking for a way to keep fit, or are simply browsing new electric options to replace your old traditional bike, here are some of the things to look out for and our top recommendations.
Benefits of electric bikes for seniors
An electric bike can help remove some of the barriers to cycling for senior riders. It's not just about motors and batteries (more on them later) - modern bicycle design means frames are easier to manoeuvre, and everything's streamlined to make the entire cycling experience more enjoyable.
But what are electric bikes? They're essentially super-powered traditional bikes, with a few extra components (battery, motor, electric display) to boost your riding. Pedal assist e-bikes like Raleigh's are completely legal in the UK because they have a maximum motor output of 250 watts and motors only kick in when the bike is travelling at less than 15.5mph.
So why go for an e-bike over a normal bike? In brief, the main benefits of electric bicycles for older riders include:
More cycling speed
Assistance for tricky rides
Low step and step through frames
Having an engineered bike with powerful gears and mechanisms is one thing, but the addition of a motor and battery to help power you over hills and provide a bit more of a boost... well, it really is a game-changer. You'll be able to pedal more easily without having to expend so much energy, and you'll be able to cover more distance at a greater speed thanks to the power assist.
Because you'll have that bit of assistance from the motor and battery, you really will be able to enjoy all the fun parts of cycling. Whether you're on a social cycle catching up with friends or are out on a beautiful country ride to take in the scenery, even uphill battles will feel much less like uphill battles with the right e-bike.
How to choose the best electric bike for seniors
Every person and every cyclist is different. That means different bikes and different styles will suit some people better than others. There are a few things to consider when you're comparing electric bike options.
Best e-bike frame type for senior cyclists
It's incredibly important to choose the right frame style (and size) for you - riding the wrong bike will only hamper your enjoyment and could even cause you physical pain and other issues.
When you're browsing for a new bike, you'll notice a number of different types and options out there. One of the most important elements of your new bike will be the frame - the size and shape. For older riders and cyclists with mobility issues in general, a step through electric bike is highly recommended.
A step through frame (sometimes also referred to as low step or a drop frame) is pretty self-explanatory. The design of the frame's geometry means you can step through to mount the bike, rather than having to lift your leg up and over the saddle.
An electric step through bike is great for those with limited mobility or hip issues, since you don't need to struggle with repeatedly hoisting your leg up to mount and dismount. These bikes are also great for carrying cargo (whether it's a bit of shopping or all your day's errands).
Step through electric bikes like the Raleigh Motus offer a range of frame sizes too, so it's completely customisable to your build and preferences.
What size electric bike battery do I need?
Now you've figured out the right frame type, you'll need to think about how you're going to be using the bike. Will you be heading out on long rides for fitness, or using it for your daily commute? Or will your electric bike be mainly for the odd cycle to stretch your legs, or to carry your shopping around?
E-bike battery capacity and performance are important considerations in choosing the right bike. If you'll be cycling long distances in one go you'll likely want a bigger battery that can provide pedal assistance over a longer range. As you browse through our electric bikes, you'll notice that we've included information on the 'max battery range' for each model. This will show you on average how many miles that bike can power you through on a single charge.
The Raleigh Centros low step bike has a range of up to 130 miles on a single charge, so you can enjoy pedal assist no matter where the road takes you.
Best e-bike motor position for senior cyclists
You'll also need to consider the e-bike motor. There are three different options on where the motor will be positioned - front mount, mid or centre mount and rear mount. A front mount motor is attached to the hub of the front wheel, with a rear mount in the same place on the back wheel. Centre mount motors (also known as mid drive motors) are located at the middle of the bike, where the pedals are.
While each position has its advantages and disadvantages in general, for senior riders or cyclists with mobility considerations there are a few additional things to think about.
Front mounted hub motors can make manoeuvering the bike a little more difficult and can also make steering feel a little less stable as you pick up speed. Rear hub motors are easier to handle from a weight distribution perspective and generally offer better wheel traction than their front mounted counterparts.
In general for older cyclists, a central motor is the best option. On bikes like the Motus Hybrid Electric Bike or the Motus Tour Derailleur model, the mid mount motor provides central stability and a balanced geometry. You'll find this motor position will deliver greater control and easier manoeuvrability for every cycle.
The best e-bikes for senior cyclists
So, with all that in mind, it's time to choose the right bike for you. The Raleigh electric bike range offers a selection of step through and low step options that offer plenty of convenience and control. Browse our top recommendations below, or visit a Raleigh bike shop near you to speak to our team for their advice.
This low step bike (available in Hub and Derailleur Gear) is powered by an almost-silent Bosch motor, with a battery range of up to 80 miles on a single charge.
For help with carrying the weekly shop or carting the grandkids around, this electric cargo bike offers power and convenience.